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Friday, 15 November

ULEZ Launches - Just A First Step Says London Assembly

The world’s first 24 hour Ultra Low Emission Zone covering central London

The world’s first 24 hour Ultra Low Emission Zone covering central London got going on Monday April 8 but Caroline Russell of the London Assembly Environment Committee has said this is just a first step.

Sadiq Khan, London's Mayor, is claiming responsibility for introducing the world’s toughest vehicle emissions standard to help reduce toxic air pollution and protect public health.

The Central London ULEZ will operate in the same area as the current Congestion Charge zone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It replaces the T-Charge and operates alongside the Congestion Charge.

According to Khan' advisers, polluting vehicles account for around 50 per cent of London’s harmful NOx air emissions and has an economic cost to the capital of up to £3.7 billion every year. Khan's cohorts also suggest that the cost to the country every year as a whole is and £20 billion.

Those same advisers say ULEZ will help address London’s toxic air health crisis that currently leads to thousands of premature deaths annually, and increases the risk of asthma, cancer and dementia.

 

Charges

Motorists who drive into the zone in a vehicle that does not meet the new emission standard (petrol vehicles that do not meet Euro 4 standards and diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6) will have to pay a daily charge. Petrol vehicles that meet the standard have been widely available since 2006. There will be two ULEZ charge levels: £12.50 a day for cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 a day for lorries, buses and coaches.

Thousands of motorists have already started to change their behaviour as they prepare for ULEZ by driving less polluting vehicles into the area or using cleaner transport alternatives including walking or cycling, and public transport. A major awareness campaign has been underway for more than nine months to ensure drivers and businesses are ready for the ULEZ, with TfL’s online vehicle checker being used more than 3.2 million times during this period.

 

Since February 2017, when the Mayor announced the introduction of the T-charge as a stepping stone for the ULEZ, there has been:

  • A reduction in the total number of vehicles seen in the Central London ULEZ zone (around 11,000 fewer vehicles per day).
  • A 38 per cent rise in the total number of compliant vehicles in the zone between February 2017 and March 2019.
  • An increase in the proportion of compliant vehicles in the Central London ULEZ zone from 39 per cent in February  2017 to 61 per cent in March 2019.

The ULEZ is the centrepiece of a range of hard-hitting measures the Mayor has implemented to tackle London’s toxic air. From Monday April 8,  6,950 buses (75 per cent of all TfL buses) – including all buses operating in the ULEZ zone – meet or exceed the new emission standards. By October 2020 every bus in London - all 9,200 of TfL’s fleet - will meet or exceed the ULEZ standards.

 

Toxic air

The most recent data on air pollution in London reveals that more than two million Londoners still live in areas that exceed legal limits for NO2, 400,000 of whom are children under the age of 18. King’s College London research has found that if hard-hitting measures to tackle pollution had not been implemented, London’s air would not come into compliance with legal limits for another 193 years.

 

London Assembly

Over at the London Assembly Environment Committee, In response, Caroline Russell AM, Chair said: “It’s worrying that we can’t take the air we breathe for granted. That is why we pushed for the Ultra Low Emission Zone to encourage more people to look for cleaner, greener ways to travel and to drive out polluting vehicles from our choking city.

“Air pollution is having a very real and serious effect on the health and everyday lives of Londoners. Far reaching action is needed. We have argued that the expansion should go faster and further - this is just a welcome first step.”

Picture: The world’s first 24 hour Ultra Low Emission Zone covering central London got going on Monday April 8.

 

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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